Floods in the Balkans and North Africa have killed thousands, wildfires have raged across much of the Mediterranean, India’s rice crop has been hit by drought and Canada’s wheat harvests by floods. Meanwhile, in Central America, the driest weather in decades is menacing one of the most important transport arteries on earth.
“With so many major drivers of change predicted to worsen,” said one researcher, “it is expected that the increase of invasive alien species and their negative impacts, are likely to be significantly greater.”
As wildfires burned through 3,200 acres of land on the Hawaiian island of Maui earlier this month, ultimately killing at least 115 people and destroying the city of Lahaina, some observers noted that the dry grasses that colonial occupiers introduced in the place of Hawaii’s natural forests made the fires spread faster than they would have if the land had been left intact.
On Monday, a study resulting from nearly five years of research by experts from 49 countries revealed how the grasses are among thousands of harmful invasive alien species that have been introduced by human activities and placed communities across the globe at risk, with the human-driven climate emergency often exacerbating the negative impact of invasive plant and animal species.
While celebrating the forthcoming review, campaigners also argued that “Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg should put a new rule in place that restores the ban on LNG by rail once and for all.”
Green groups on Friday applauded as the Biden administration suspended a Trump-era rule allowing liquefied natural gas to be transported by train, delivering another blow to New Fortress Energy’s proposal to ship climate-wrecking LNG by rail from Wyalusing, Pennsylvania to Gibbstown, New Jersey.
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)—in coordination with the Federal Railroad Administration, another U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) agency—announced in the Federal Register on Friday that it is amending the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) to suspend authorization of LNG rail transportation.
U.S. Green groups and some Democratic politicians on Friday celebrated a federal appellate court’s ruling that pauses the development of the Uinta Basin Railway, a project that would connect Utah’s oil fields to the national railway network.
“The court’s rejection of this oil railway and its ensuing environmental damage is a victory for the climate, public health, and wild landscapes,” said WildEarth Guardians legal director Samantha Ruscavage-Barz. “The public shouldn’t have to shoulder the costs of the railway’s environmental degradation while the fossil fuel industry reaps unprecedented profits from dirty energy.”
After negotiations between the United Parcel Service and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters broke down last week, UPS on Friday announced “business continuity training” to prepare for a potential strike by 340,000 union members next month.
“We remain focused on reaching an agreement with the Teamsters that is a win for UPS employees, our customers, our union, and our company,” the shipping giant said. “While we have made great progress and are close to reaching an agreement, we have a responsibility as an essential service provider to take steps to help ensure we can deliver our customers’ packages if the Teamsters choose to strike.”
“The largest single-employer strike in American history now appears inevitable.”
So said Teamsters general president Sean O’Brien late Wednesday after leaders of the union representing shipping giant UPS quit negotiating with company representatives after giving them a Friday deadline to “act responsibly and exchange a stronger economic proposal for more than 340,000 full- and part-time workers.”
A freight train derailment and the collapse of a bridge over the Yellowstone River in Montana on Saturday raised alarm as several cars carrying asphalt and molten sulfur tumbled into the river, prompting officials to take emergency measures at nearby water plants.
The incident also brought to mind for some critics the Biden administration’s plan to move forward with a railway project along the Colorado River—one that could place the drinking water of 40 million people at risk as trains transport crude oil from eastern Utah’s Uinta Basin to national rail lines.
A pump in Gorda, California in 2021. Screenshot: KSBW
Climate and consumer advocates on Tuesday hailed California lawmakers’ passage of legislation aimed at tackling Big Oil price gouging as the proposal headed to the desk of Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, who said he will sign the measure into law.
The California Assembly voted 52-19 on Monday in favor of S.B. X1-2—authored by state Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-9)—which will empower the California Energy Commission (CEC) to impose profit caps and penalties on refiners and create an intra-agency watchdog tasked with conducting greater oversight of fossil fuel companies to minimize profiteering. Continue reading →
Residents and officials in Harris County, Texas have expressed alarm since learning that contaminated water used to extinguish a fiery train crash in East Palestine, Ohio has been transported more than 1,300 miles to a Houston suburb for disposal.
Houston’s Coalition for Environment, Equity, and Resilience tweeted Thursday: “We are disturbed to learn that toxic wastewater from East Palestine, Ohio will be brought to Harris County for ‘disposal.’ Our county should not be a dumping ground for industry.” Continue reading →